The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has urged the leadership and membership of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) not to take the law into their own hands in dealing with traders from Nigeria and other nationalities engaged in retail trade.
In a meeting with the leadership of GUTA, the President stated that “undoubtedly, the law favours GUTA’s position. But, I will appeal that we live in a country where the rule of law works.”
He continued, “It is the State that interprets how the laws should be applied. People cannot take the law into their own hands, and purportedly seek to enforce it. If we tread on that line, Ghana will become ungovernable.”
Reminding the leadership of GUTA about the high numbers of Ghanaians also trading in Nigeria, the President stated that “let us not do things that may result in reprisal attacks on Ghanaians elsewhere. Not long ago, we saw and heard what happened in South Africa. It has dented their image and has caused them to lose respect in the comity of nations.”
President Akufo-Addo, thus, urged the leadership to allow the Committee established by the Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon. Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, in collaboration with the Ghana Immigration Service, to do its job in dealing with foreigners engaged in retail trade.
“I am hopeful that, when the Committee is allowed to proceed with their work under the ambit of the law, your issues will be looked into and abated. So, I ask of you to exercise patience,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo assured GUTA that Government is determined to finding an amicable solution to this impasse, and “make our brothers know that the laws of the country are there to be abode whether you are a citizen or a migrant. And, I will never change my views about that, but, we cannot do it with people taking the law into their own hands. That will not help any of us.”
The President was confident that “if we allow that process to work, our problems will be resolved to our mutual benefit.”
At Okaishie, President Akufo-Addo told the market women and traders that the matter of high interest rates is of grave concern to him, even though interest rates have reduced considerably since his assumption of office in January 2017.
He told the traders that he has directed the Governor of the Bank of Ghana to initiate discussions with the Banks on how to bring the rates down, and was hopeful that “very soon it will yield good results, and the rates will eventually come down.”
The President noted further that a significant allocation has been given to MASCLOC so as to ensure that traders can access small loans to enhance their business.
On the reforms undertaken in the banking sector, President Akufo-Addo explained that even though the steps taken “may have had a toll on you”, he indicated further that “the consequences would have been dire if we had not taken those bold decisions. I urge you to remain patient, as, very soon, you will feel the benefits of these reforms.”
“We have started paying contractors. Some of your husbands who are involved have been paid so if they have not made you aware, kindly tell them that I say they have been paid. They are aware. So, this Christmas promises to be great for you traders and for all of us,” he added.